tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 8, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT
political career advancement. tells you all you need to know. that does it for us tonit. we will see you again tomorrow night. new blood. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, shakeup. mayor daley of chicago started the chain reaction. he's not running for re-election. rahm emanuel, the president's chief of staff, wants his job. the announcement from chicago comes as president obama faced the worst poll numbers ever in our latest nbc news/purge poll. this is the moment when a tough hardball manager makes his move. this is the time when the general manager, in this case the president, does what he sees more than anybody needs to be done, the team's losing.
he can still salvage the season. shakeup time, big time. i recommend he get hillary clinton in as his chief of defense to toughen up the security and move middle east talks to a higher level and then brings in a real heavyweight to run the white house, to serve as the government's chief operating officer. how about new york mayor michael bloomberg? how about colin powell? why not make his move now? not the sad morning after election. we'll look at new poll numbers and hear some of the new tough talk about the president. we'll also talk to one man who saw the democrat's huge 1994 defeat coming before others did and says it doesn't have to happen this time if the president obama steals a page from a former president's "playbook." that's ronald reagan's. plus two weeks ago pastor terry jones of florida came on "hardball" to defend his plans to burn korans on september 11th. today general petraeus saying jones' koran-burning party could
endanger the lives of american service men and women and threaten our overall effort in the middle east. jones says he's still going for it. more on that later tonight on hardball. plus, bagging the tea partiers. a group of liberal organizations has created a website that right wingers don't like. we start with the shakeup. that's if president obama wants a second term. chuck todd is nbc news political director and white house correspondent and john heilemann is senior writer for "new york" magazine. gentlemen, facts have come on the table. one, the mayor of chicago is not running again. fact, rahm emanuel said on charlie rose that he wants the job. fact, the poll numbers coming in from nbc, and chuck has got them, are terrifically bad. time for a shakeup. your thoughts, chuck? what do you know? what can you report? >> here's what we can tell you. the fact is rahm emanuel put out a statement today talking about
and praising mayor daley. if he wanted to stop speculation about him running for mayor of chicago, we would have the statement. the fact is we don't have the statement. i've talked to some folks very familiar with how mayors races in city politics work and they say even though the filing deadline for mayor is not until december, that realistically rahm has about a week or two to make a decision and make one publicly. because if he doesn't, he risks seeing others who may have similar plays at constituency groups, the business community in chicago, things like that, filling the void. and that he needs to make his decision sooner rather than later. now the timing on that isn't ideal for the white house. you talk about the shakeup. there was going to be a reorganization of some form around when they were going to start the re-election of the campaign. whether that's david axelrod moving to chicago to run the re-elect, robert plouffe, robert gibbs, rahm emanuel.
all of this was in the works over the next three to six months. the fact is now what do they do if rahm leaves in the next week? do they bring in someone temporarily, say a ron klain from the vice president's office or do what you're advocating, do the big change? >> let's cut to the quick. how about heavyweights coming in to help this president. running a solo act he has a problem in re-election time in a year or two. that's not working. he needs a stronger team. that's my assessment. he can't elevate some deputies in the white house and make everybody feel better. he wouldn't do that, would he, at this point? that's what you do in your seventh year of a presidency, you promote the deputies. doesn't he need to go outside to get sob big like bloomberg, like colin powell and bring in hillary at secretary of defense, bolster the power of this administration before he faces defeat on election day, or does he wait until after he loses? >> you're definitely going to see bigger names come in. the question is when do you do it, do you do it after the election or the first of the year? i just think it's simply a timing issue, or do you do it
now? look, there's a problem with doing it now, politically. it could look like you're throwing in the towel now in many ways and you're already planning for the defeat and planning to figure out what's next. you know, you might say, well, wait until after the election, but, look, you know, you're -- you're pointing out some business folks. i think some odd candidates that could get floated is a guy like ed whitaker, former -- the guy who is stepping down as head of gm, somebody who is friendly with this white house. >> yeah, okay. >> that brings in as ceo or mark warner, senator from virginia. >> let's go right now to john heilemann. your sense, can you report anything about a shakeup because these numbers are dreadful, and i'm going to get to them in one minute. they are truly dreadful. your thoughts? >> i think you're right, chris, in the sense that a shakeup is necessary, and i think a shakeup is coming, and the rahm thing is going to be the trigger for that and chuck is right, too, in the sense that something like this is going to happen but the dreadfulness of the numbers and i think the pressure on the president now to do something
bold in terms of his person sell going to be very, very high. >> yeah. >> i think as important as how big the name is the idea of getting someone from outside the inner circle. obama both in the campaign and in the white house has been one of these guys who has governed with a very, very tight circle of aides around him. he trusts very few people. takes advice from very few people. worked well for him during the campaign but not as well for him in the white house. he needs to go to someone who will tell him unpleasant truths. someone who has the stature to say to him the way that leon panetta did to bill clinton in the second half of bill clinton's first term. listen, buddy, you've got to get with the program here. i'm here to tell you things you don't want to hear. >> okay. let's take a look i want to get to this. john, good thoughts and i agree completely. he needs heavyweights and they can't all be from chicago. that's his kind of town, not everybody's, though i love the place. here's the president talking about the personality of this fight. it is getting deeply personal. the republicans are going for the kill. here he is saying that he's being called or treated like a dog. i've never heard a president
talk like this saying people are treating me like a dog is this going to work and with who? let's listen. >> and over the last two years that's meant taking on some powerful interests. some powerful interests who have been dominating the agenda in washington for a very long time, and they are not always happy with me. they talk about me like a dog. that's not in my prepared remarks. it's just -- but it's true. >> no. i don't think that would have gotten past even your staff. let's take a look at the new nbc/"wall street journal" poll and we'll go through this with chuck. 61% of the american people now say this country is on the wrong track. compare that to numbers back in 2006 and 1994, earlier times have changed politically. 54% and 57, never any number like this. chuck, this is bad news. i know you and i always talk about the wrong track number. basically the american people saying we are being led in the wrong direction.
>> that's right. any time we've had a change election, the right track/wrong track number looks the way it looks now, and the fact that this wrong track number is higher than at the same point in time in '06 and sam point in time in 1949 and frankly the same point of time i believe in 2008, that just shows you it is going to be a big change election unless somehow something changes for the president and the democrats. one thing they are going to focus on that they think they can do is somehow motivate these unmotivated democratic voters that are sitting there with no interest in this election. that's going to cost them two or three senate seats if they can't get them out. >> to make your point i think the only happy people in america are the one naz are happy because they are so angry and they are going to vote against this guy. check out difference between likely voters, people probably going to vote in this off-year election and registered voters. look at this, 49 to 40 is how he's losing basically on the generic ballot right there.
49% to 40% among people who are actually going to vote. it's a dead heat if everybody votes, but most people aren't going to bother to vote. of those who are going to vote, he gets killed by nine points. the president's job approval stands at 45% among registered voters and 49% disapproval in his performance among likely voters. 56% disapproval, john heilemann, 56% disapproval among the people who are going to vote this november. >> we've been talking for months, chris, about the enthusiasm gap that's showing up in polling. republican-inclined voters are much more likely and energized to get out and vote in this election and now that we're getting closer to election day and as the polling is getting more granular, we're starting to actually see it come out and the difference between the registered voter splits and the likely voter splits. that's what you're seeing right here, and it's interesting the thing that the administration in addition to obama's tough rhetoric today, they will really try to put on what they think is open the eyes of some of these voters who -- who say in these
polls also that they don't -- they are for the republicans but they are against going back to george bush's economic policies. they want to try to say to them, look, this is what you're going to get if the republicans come in. in fact, it's going to be worse than it was under bush. it's going to be more extreme. that's what they are saying and what obama will be saying. >> unfortunately, john, that's not what the polling is showing. 56% of americans disapprove of president obama's handling of the economy and 58% thought republicans would offer different ideas on how to jump start the economy. only 35% thought the party would return to its old bush policies. that is a staggering statement as to the success of the republican pr campaign, chuck. >> i disagree that it's about a success in the pr campaign. i think this is twofold. one is you have a fedup public and they have two choices here. to go -- to stay in what they believe is the same path that president obama and democrats offer. >> right. >> or to go a different path, and so the voter is putting the best possible face on their vote here, so why -- they tell us that the bush policies were unpopular.
in fact, it is the second most unpopular attitude for a congressional candidate to have. >> so they are being optimistic, a rosy scenario of republicanism. >> correct. it's the same thing that barack obama benefited from in 2008. >> wow. >> people put the most positive -- independents thought he's going to be a moderate. liberals thought he would be the great liberal. they became the hope candidate and many ways this idea of a new republican congress, voters are being hopeful, even if they haven't seen any hard evidence to prove it otherwise. >> you know, chuck, it's like one of those old santa claus masks that used to be in the store windows that always seemed to be looking at you, you know, when you're walking by. that guy is with me. >> give me that toy. >> john heilemann, the same question to you. do you take the same view that when people, voters are saying, oh, they are not going back to their old ways. they have whole new republican approach which is less spending, less taxes, all the good old -- not the good old bush stuff but the real conservative stuff, the
gold >> i think they are rationalizing it and another piece of the polling in the nbc poll that talked about how when people were asked directly are you voting against president obama or are you voting for the republicans, more of thesaid they were in favor of the republicans, saying this as a positive, affirmative vote. i think those people are not exactly lying, but they are lying to themselves. they are rationalizing a vote because they can't -- nobody likes to vote purely in a negative way, purely as a protest vote. they want to feel as though they are voting for something, even if they on some level don't understand what they are voting for or have rationalized that the thing they are voting for is something different than what's actually on the table. >> like people who say they don't respond to negative advertising. >> like exactly like that. >> that's the only thing they respond to. >> chuck, it's the only thing that works. that's why they keep doing it. anyway, not that it should work. thank you, chuck todd. change you, john heilemann. coming up, so the democrats have a tough road ahead. there may be ways they can avoid a major catastrophe this fall and only have a small catastrophe this november. how they can avoid what happened in '94.
we'll talk to one man who saw '94 coming and wrote a memoir about it to the democratic leaders and said be careful. this is what's going to happen. they didn't all listen to them and they did have a catastrophe. this time we'll let you hear what his advice is to the president. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. yellowbook has always been good for business. but these days you need more than the book. you need website development, 1-on-1 marketing advice, search-engine marketing, and direct mail. yellowbook's got all of that. yellowbook360's got a whole spectrum of tools. tools that are going to spark some real connections. visit yellowbook360.com and go beyond yellow.
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inspired us, and as he battled through the 2008 primaries he retold that story, and it was electric. >> my own story tells me that in the united states of america there's never been anything false about hope. at least not if you're willing to work for it, not if you're willing to struggle for it, not if you're willing to fight for it. i should not be here today. i should not be here today. i was not born into money or status. i was born to a teenage mom in hawaii.
my father left us when i was 2. but my family gave me love. they gave me an education, and the most of all they gave me hope. hope -- hope that in america no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it and fight for it and work for it. >> you know, get the same thrill up my leg all over me every time i hear those words. i'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen. that's me. he's talking about my country, and nobody does it better. can president obama stir us again and help his party keep power this november? jim kesler is co-founder and vice president of third way, a progressive think tank and roger simon, from politico. gentlemen, a little bit of sentiment. try here. it seems to me and what's thrilled me and i admit it had so many times is when he talks about america. he didn't say i'm going to do because i'm a big shot and i'm a brain. he said i was lucky and fortunate enough to live in this
country and without a lot of help from government, on our own we can do things. that's what your piece is about? >> he doesn't talk like that anymore. >> it's hard to talk like that when you're in the middle of a lot of legislative battles, but if you look the back 10.8% unemployment, 3.6% inflation, decline gdp, doubling of the deficit over the previous years and presidential approval ratings south of 40%. ronald reagan, november 1982 at the exact moment of the mid-term elections. he held all 54 republican senate seats. they lost a couple dozen house seats which was basically par for the course. it shows you can have an economic environment as bad or worse as what the democrats and barack obama are facing. >> if? >> if you have to own one thing. you have to own optimism, and -- and that's what -- that's what president reagan was selling to the american people, a destination, a vision about success and where america can go. >> was that a confidence in him selves or his programs?
>> it was confidence in himself as a leader because there was doubts about reagonomics. rage okay micks hadn't worked for one moment at that point but they understood the destination he wants to take this country and they said we're going to hitch a ride with this guy. i'm not sure about the program but i know where he wants to take the country and they hitched a wagon to him. >> someone is giving other advice, getting it somewhere else because they are treating me like a dog. this whining -- not whining. that's a knock, but he's talking like he's being put down. he's not being put down. he's being criticized. >> he's president of the united states. can't portray him self as the victim. one other thing that the republicans had going for them in '94 is that the democrats were fat and sassy and lazy and didn't see it coming. also, they had a movement leader in newt gingrich and his contract with america. it was more symbolic than real, but people said, oh, here it is in writing. this is a good deal. >> only about a fifth of the people knew about that so-called contract.
let me ask you about jim's point, about the basic speech he used to give about america. no one questioned barack obama's americanism when he was running as a candidate. they didn't talk about his religion. they knew he had an,tic name like barack obama like a lot of our names are accidents of our parents or grand patients, not who we are, and now the republicans have tagged him with identity, he's barack hussein obama and he doesn't seem to wow us with his love of country, like he used to. that's my thought >> i think he's suffering under the belief that he's got to do something for an encore. he can't go back to the past, and you saw on the podium the past placard, change you can believe in, change we can believe in. now people have a right to say where's the change? >> it's a year and a half. >> it didn't happen and people are impatient. they want to see something. >> why did they pick up reagan a year and a half with unemployment worse than that? >> reagan, like president obama,
is a very magnetic figure that people liked and trusted. barack obama, as i said, is the same. by election day he cannot improve the unemployment figures, but by election day he can goose up the democrats. >> yeah, okay. >> he can make them confident. >> let's watch reagan for a second and i'll ask you, jim, can a democrat be turned on the way a republican can? i know i can. i'm somewhere in the middle of slightly left, but i'm there, and can i get it turned on by america as anybody on the right, and i want to ask you whether democrats really want to be positive. here she, reagan being positive, maybe talking to the choir. here shein january of 1982. >> don't let anyone tell you that america's best days are behind her, that the american spirit has been vanquished. we've seen it too often in our lives to stop believing it now. >> can a democrat talk about that.
>> you talked about a tingle up my left. >> it wasn't a tingle up my leg. that's what right wing fascists say. i had a thrill up my leg. >> my apologies. >> it's not enough. you're reading the wrong stuff. kidding. i can take it. >> yeah. look, i think in general it's a little bit harder with democrats because we are by nature, you know, a lot of times -- we're aggrieved interests, you know. >> what about the -- i met a woman the other day who is out of work. she's my age. she's been looking for a job. she says, you know, they are only hiring young good looking wait persons or waitresses and i can't get a job and i need one and it's tough out there. she's are a democrat. talking to me about her politics and where is her optimism going to come from for this president? >> we did a pot. let me give you one number for our poll. we asked people do you think you're doing better economically that be the average person and 71% said yes and 15% said no. >> what does this tell you? >> this is an optimistic
success-oriented population. yes, one of the things reagan understood, and this is very important. when you're governing in very, very, very bad economic times, you can't sell people on your accomplishments and on the state of where things are right now. you have to sell them on the destination of where you're going to take them. >> has he done that? has the president sold the route we're on? >> no. he's just started though. he cannot tell people -- he has got to do what he did before in this one sense. >> right. >> that as difficult as it was to elect the first black president, it's going to be this difficult to re-elect a democratic congress, and he's got to inspire people to do it. it's a low turnout election. only 40% of the electorate are going to vote. >> that's true. >> compared to about 56 in the general. >> 63 in the general.
>> he can get young people and minorities and progress i was out to vote by doing what? >> by filling them with enthusiasm, hope and the belief that it can be done. >> okay. >> if they sit around and listen to the polls, they will stay home. >> well said. i do agree with that. if you give up, the game is over. >> good provocative writing. be positive and get the confidence level. roger simon, as always. congressional democrats are running away, far away from their crowning achievement. this is a bad sign. not talking in their ads at all about health care which is astounding after all that incredible pain and effort to get this through. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] mousse temptations by jell-o.
barney frank last august responding to a town hall question that tied health care to nazism. >> why do you continue to support a nazi policy as obama has expressly supported this policy? why are you supporting it? >> you stand there with a picture of the president with a face that looks like hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the nazis. my answer to you is, as i said before, it is a tribute to the first amendment that this kind of vile contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. i have no interest in doing it. >> well, that question of rachel brown, is her name, is now looking to lengthen her andy warhol 15 minutes of fame. she filed as a challenger to frank.
frank's reaction, quote, i regard her as an example of the price you pay for free speech. next, tall tales over in arizona n.defending her state's tough now anti-illegal immigration law, governor jan brewer made a shocking claim. here she is on fox in june. >> it is a good bill, and it's another tool for us to be able to use in order to get our borders under control. we cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings and the fact that people can't feel safe in their communities. it's wrong. it's wrong. >> well, the word that no doubt jumped out at you there was beheadings, a real show-stopper. anyway, her claim was immediately challenged by medical examiners along the border who said they never heard of such beheadings. despite repeated questioning,
brewer stood her ground, until this weekend. three months after she made that beheading claim, governor brewer has now admitted to the associated press that she misspoke about the border beheadings. what can we only guess did she intend to say? moving on. talk about a detour. with two months to go before the mid-terms and a crucial home stretch, where's republican party chairman michael steele? he's in guam. steele arrived today to do fund-raisers at an island 6,000 miles away from the u.s. mainland. well, you know what they say, as goes guam, so goes michael steele, now to tonight's big number. democrats this year heralded an historic and hard-fought victory, the passage of a sweeping health care reform bill that would extend coverage to some 30 million americans who weren't covered. it was to be the party's crowning political and partisan and policy achievement, an accomplishment that the democrats could hang their laurels on for generations to come. so this political cycle how many house democrats are running tv
ads touting the passage of health care? according to politico, zero. no house democrat is standing by their party's most significant accomplishment in decades. it just tells you how rough times are for the democrats. let no good deed go unpunished. zero tv ads for obama health care, tonight's very telling big zero number. up next, a pastor in florida is still planning to burn korans on september 11th despite warnings from general david petraeus that doing so could put american troops in serious danger. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] there's complete.
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>> strong winds in conditions are being blamed for at least and dustin house fires in detroit. will gusts of up to 50 miles an hour knocked tree limbs and chart blevins and thousands without electricity. in colorado, firefighters are continuing their assault on a wildfire that has already destroyed dozens of homes and. south texas residents are clean up after her meeting. local flooding and power outages. iraqi officials say the shooting deaths soldiers by an iraqi soldier was the result of an argument that got out of hand. nine other u.s. troops were wounded. the iraqi soldier was shot and killed. of. in today's york times, he says his group will proceed with instructions and promised transparency in the funding back to "hardball." .
it puts our soldiers in jeopardy, very likely. and i think, in fact, the images from such an activity could very off fifth well be used by extremists here and around the world. >> welcome back to "hardball." that's, of course, general david petraeus out in the field warning on the effects of our troops if a florida pastor follows through with his planned koran burning on 9/11. that's coming up this saturday, i believe, but the pastor responded to the general with a paper statement that reads in part, quote, we understand the general's concerns. we are sure that his concerns are legitimate. still, we feel that it's time for america to quit apologizing for our actions and bowing to kings. wes moore served in afghanistan in 2005 and six. he's author of "the other wes moore." and david corn writes for "mother jones" magazine and politicsdaily.com. let's go to captain moore. thank you for your service. >> thank you very much, appreciate it. >> and i mean it, of course.
you're a troop in the field, you're a parent, you face danger 24/7, they can get to you if they have a feeling about sacrilege. what do you think about this? >> not only to do this is really misguided but it puts our troops and the larger mission in real danger. i think we've been very clear not just in word but also in deed that this is not a war against islam. this is a war against extremist elements such as al qaeda and the taliban but these actions are not helpful in trying to make the argument this is not a war against islam and should real el be reconsidered. >> let me get to david corn. what happened, in other words, the talk during the abu ghraib horror that was really used against us? tell us more about that how the pictures from abu ghraib where they showed american service men and women really abusing the bodies and the dignity of islamic prisoners.
that thing about flushing the koran down the toilet, just the rumor of that. what was that about? what happened then? >> i'm sorry. what ended up happening really for that, and not only did we see that, you know, with what happened with abu ghraib, it also happened with the koran burning back in 2005 is the -- the extremists, we knew that you could not really bring them back along, but really who that targeted and who that really hurt was our ability to try to bring in moderates, and you saw the extremist groups were using that as amnist and using this as fodder to recruit. >> right. >> when i was on the ground in afghanistan during the time of the -- of the danish cartoons, the 12 cartoons that went off where, you know, talking about what's happening with islam and the prophet muhammad, it real led to some dangerous and, you know, very dangerous situations for soldiers on the ground at that time. >> it always seems like you're a 14-year-old kid and you hear about this. they are burning the koran in the country and you're going to school. what, they burned my bible, they burned my religion?
you're sitting in a cafe in cairo, a moderate kid who wants to go to michigan state studying engineering, wait a minute, they are burning the koran over there. why doesn't the president stop this? >> people think that the president has the power to stop this and if it happens it reflects not just on the idiot pastor down in florida but on the u.s. government at large. a lot -- in a lot of places, a lot of parts of the world you couldn't do this without government backing. the government would have the power to shut it down. >> dictatorship. >> so people view it through that lens. already have you people in afghan, yuk men in afghan throwing rocks and demonstrating against this and throwing rocks at american troop conadvice. it's not a big threat at the moment but it could get even bigger. >> that's most reasonable compared to what might be coming. here's the pastor. this isn't a new story for us. on august 26th i had pastor jones on, terry jones on, and i thought it was a pretty fair show and i tried to get him to at least admit there might be somebody out there that might talk about him. i never thought someone as distinguished as general petraeus would do it, but here's what he said then. let's listen.
do you like or respect anyone, sir? enough to listen to them? >> i respect the last president, president bush. >> if george w. bush the former president were to call you up now or visit with you and say i think this is going to cause trouble in the arab and islamic world, i really think you shouldn't be burning korans in public on that day, it's their holbrook, would you not do it? >> that would not change our plans though. >> again, even if george w. bush were to call you up, pastor jones, and urge you not to commit this action which will be televised worldwide and could cause trouble and even death, you wouldn't -- you would continue ahead with your plan to do this? >> we are going to continue ahead, yes. >> okay. well, this we is pretty scary. why doesn't he just say i? who is this we? is he the politburo? who has he behind him that makes the decision. >> he has a very right wing fundamental church that believes
that if you support abortion, that if you support homosexual rights -- >> a lot of people believe that it's wrong. >> that you're going to hell and more importantly it's their job to stop all such activity so they really believe islam is the devil's religion. they believe that literally it's the religion of the devil and they have to oppose t.interesting that you brought up george w. bush, because i take this man at his word, that nothing will, you know, dissuade him from this, but what might help is if you had figures on the right like george w. bush, like newt gingrich who is making a big storm -- >> how about franklin graham? >> if they came out and all condemned this it might send a counterveiling message. >> let me ask you, captain wes moore. you only have a few minutes here, but i think maybe you ought to make an appeal. i don't know, as a fighting guy, a warrior. you know we don't need any more enemies. we've got enough enemies in the world. why would you want to recruit enemies like this will probably do, i think.
>> i agree, and quite honestly the largest challenge, is and david touched on it, really important point, and also a point that general caldwell made, that for a lot of people, particularly thousands around the world protesting next act issue, they don't understand this idea of a first amendment right to speak. they don't understand that the president can't just tell him not to do this and that it can't be done, so they think by seeing these actions and when these images are transported all over the world, that this is how the country feels, and we have to be very clear that when we have men and women in harm's way and men and women out there fighting for us every single day, that we need to do everything in our power to support them, and this is not at all helpful. >> do you think if the president -- wes, would you think if the president were to publicly condemn this, the state department, by the way, has put out word, p.j. crowley, the spokesman has said it's basically un-american what this pastor is thinking of doing and it's religious radicalism? does that help to the muslim world or no or only marginally? >> i think only marginally. quite honestly, i don't think the president should get involved and condemn this because what general petraeus
said is right. i think the president would echo what general petraeus would say and i'm hoping and praying that pastor jones takes that seriously and takes that into consideration. >> couldn't have a better guest on than you, sir. thank you, captain wes moore works has been out there and knows what the soldiers are facing. thank you, david corn, as always. up next, tracking the tea party. this is going to be a real treat for people who really want to know what was going on on the mall when glenn beck called his troops together, real interviews coming up with actual people there who weren't under the control of the leader who had to say what they had to say. if you really want to know what people thought, some of them, catch this. stick with us after the commercial. wait until you hear what they say. great stuff. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. [ rumbling ]
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forms of extremism within the tea party movement. they are not completely objective. joining me right now is a member of media matters, one of the partners on this project, and he's going to be our candid camera reviewer. here's one of the videos up at the site right now. a compilation of interviews with the people at the great glenn beck rally, not great, sorry, infamous, if you will, rally healed on the nation's capital at the mall. let's listen to these amazing interviews. >> do you know about glenn beck having said barack obama was a racist? >> i never heard him say he was a rates of. never heard glenn say that. never heard him actually be disrespectful to the president. >> glenn beck is not going to say that. you're just turning words around here. i know where you're at and i'm not talking to you anymore. >> do you remember when glenn beck referred to president obama as a racist? >> no, i didn't. >> but what we find it very surprising today -- >> if i heard that, i'd believe it because he is a bit of a racist.
>> uh-huh. i never heard him say he was a >> reporter: do you think he's a christian? >> i think he is a muslim at heart. >> they want us to take a slap in the face by putting a mosque up there near ground zero. well, how many mosques are in new york right now? there's a bunch of them. why do they need another one? just to slap us in the face? >> i learned all i needed to know about islam on 9/11. >> wow. you saw there some tea partiers denying glenn beck ever called the president racist. here's the evidence. >> this president i think has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep seeded hatred for white people or the white culture. i don't know what it is. this guy is i believe a racist. >> well, you know, what is it about cognitive distance we used to call it where you don't hear something because you don't want to hear it because it doesn't
fit? or are those people just bs-ing saying they don't know he talks like that? >> they clearly aren't watching glenn beck if they say that because a week before he called barack obama racist he said his entire agenda was based on one word, reparations. how can you claim someone's agenda is base onondaga reparations a word i don't think barack obama has ever uttered and not be a racist? >> what has been the reaction to you showing these tapes online of people who actually spoke freely at the glenn beck -- not from the podium, the official line, but the unofficial line? >> i mean, i think there's been a lot of exposure of this. i think tea party tracker -- we've put tons of these videos on our website media matters.org over the course of this. this is just a compounding of evidence. there have been signs at rallies i remember. i was out in searchlight and i spoke to a couple who had a sign that described barack obama as a politely put a tribal leader. you know, those signs became so common and i think tea party tracker.org is just one place that documents it all. >> what about the -- did they
try when they went into this rally at the capitol, watching it right there on the screen, did they go around and could you tell where they made an effort to police it and keep those nazi signs that show up all the time at tea party rallies out of camera range but weren't able to keep people's brains out of camera range? >> well, for weeks leading up to the rally glenn beck said don't bring signs. bring your children. he was scared of what those signs would be. and if glenn beck proved one thing it's that people listen to him. you go back to the health care rallies on capitol hill when that bill was passing those signs were some of the most offensive things i've ever seen, chris. >> what struck me in that series of interviews, i'd like to see a lot more, i could watch hours of this stuff because it does tell me the truth. i was struck by their almost mooney-like willingness to cover for him. in other words they weren't denying what they thought wasn't true. they were denying what might hurt him. that's different. they're like in his regiments like supporting him blindly. the old rule is i don't need you when i'm right. i need you when i'm wrong.
he had obviously said this. they denied it because they wanted to cover for him not because they didn't think he said it. >> i mean, glenn beck is an incredibly powerful voice and brings out 500,000 people or 78,000 people or whatever he wants to say or whatever the truth is on to the mall and these people are devoted followers and they'll do whatever he says. >> where are you going next not to give away your act. >> i think we'll keep exposing this. i think when the american people see what is at the true heart of this movement they're going to reject it. >> is it the belief of media matters having observed this that there is a racial element to the tea party or is that just you were able to isolate that with some people? >> there is no question. remember back right after the naacp nearly passed a resolution to condemn racism and what is the reaction of the resolution saying condemn racism? it is to attack the tea party as racist. and as the tea party was scurrying around to try to prove themselves not racist mark williams the head of one of the tea party groups comes out and makes racist statements and gets fired for being racist. >> by the way, one of the tricks they did, they run the names of
organizations past them and they mention the naacp and if a person says they don't like the naacp that's a trigger. >> and these guys hate the naacp and it's pretty sad because the naacp is such an important organization. >> keep working at it. >> thank you. >> thanks for joining us. we'll be right back. i've got some thoughts by the way about how this administration can go positive for themselves, bolster up for this election, and be much stronger on election day and on the next election day in 2012 if they put their house together, bolster it up. we need a shakeup and some heavyweights to come in. i'll say it more lucidly when we get back. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪
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let me finish tonight with the need for an obama shakeup. i said this on friday. he needs to bring in hillary clinton as defense chief to give his defense department a clear, democratic leader. bolster his middle east peace deal, which could make this administration, also strengthen let's admit it the obama/clinton coalition which is the very heart of this administration. i said this before. now the tough part. he needs a chief operating officer. he's not an executive, president obama, of experience. he is probably brilliant. he is amazing at values. he has solid vision. what he needs is a skilled, competent, followup man or woman, a person who makes things
work, no ifs, ands or buts a democratic james a. baker iii, an obama version of that guy who kept ronald reagan on even keel who made things run well and knew how to deal with the opposition house of representatives which is a very good chance obama is going to have to face. it's not a time to promote deputies. it's time to bring in proven executives, big shots. you could put colin powell back in state. this time he'll be able to follow his instincts and values under a like-minded president. people say mike bloomberg or colin powell won't take these jobs. that's what they said about lyndon johnson when jack kennedy offered him the vice presidency. that's what they said about alan alda when jimmy smits offered him secretary of state on "west wing." just kidding. there comes a time when the country needs to do the right thing. nobody will tell me mike bloomberg wants the party of sarah palin and glenn beck to take over this country. mr. president, you started a push for infrastructure. roads, bridges, railways. now it's time to build your own political infrastructure. it's time to go